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Dual Fuel Range - Help!

We are about to do the long awaited kitchen remodel and we plan to go with a 36 inch dual fuel range. I have read a million posts on multiple sites and can't seem to find any consensus on a good performing, highly reliable range. My list originally included the usual suspects (Wolf, Viking, Dacor, Thermador, DCS, etc.) and I also looked into AGA, Bertazzoni and Fratelli.
Every range seems to have a wide range of fans and detractors. I will say that service and reliability complaints have me shying away from Viking and Thermador. I want high power on the burners as I do a lot of cooktop stuff, rest of the family are more into baking - hence the dual fuel. So for high cooktop output, solid and even-heating oven performance and top notch reliability - what is my best option? Probably willing to sacrifice some performance for best reliability. Input appreciated.

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  1. I'm a cabinet maker and build around stoves all the time. Whether I like it or not, I know a lot about stoves & ovens. Without a doubt or question:

    Gas Stove top
    Electric Oven

    The rest depends on your budget, and my advice is this...more money doesn't mean better. If high output burners are necessary and you can afford it, go with the Wolf..you won't be disappointed, but then again, if I bought a Rolls Royce I better not be disappointed.

    According to Consumer Reports Aug. 2009- "Among Dual Fuel rages, Frigidaire, GE & Kenmore have been reliable & jenn Air has ben repair prone." Stay away from kitchenaid, Maytag & whirlpool. LG & Bosch they didn't have enough sample. Viking has always been repair prone.

    Some things that are important on stove top & convenient...continuous grates on stove, touchpad controls for the oven to set precise temps.

    good luck!

    3puttking

    1. We went through the same remodeling dilemma and chose Dacor. I have been very happy with the range--especially the results from the convection oven. Dacor also makes a phenominal microwave that is capable of starting a nuclear event when used on the 'high" setting. (It defrosts like no other microwave I have ever seen/experienced.)

      1. As with anything, you are going to have champions and detractors for all brands. I had the opportunity to compare, side by side, Wolf, Thermador, Dacor and Viking. We did a simmer test, and a boil test. Here is what I experienced:

        Simmer test: We placed a single piece of white printer paper on the burner with the lowest possible simmer setting and turned on the burners. The Wolf, Dacor and Viking have a continuous flame simmer while the Thermador has one that cycles on and off. The paper on the Thermador caught on fire with the third cycle, so this was where we ended the test. So, the Thermado caught fire, the Dacor had char marks in a circular pattern, the Wolf paper was simply "heat wrinkled" and the Viking was almost unchanged. What you can assume from this is that the Viking and the Wolf had the lowest, most even flame, which is what you want for your simmer setting. Wolf does this with 300 BTU's, and the Viking simmer is 1000 BTU's. Yes, really. Viking doesn't have a true "simmer" burner. All their burners go down to 1000. No hot spots like we saw on the Dacor, and obviously the cycling of the Thermador sends a lot of heat up to the pot.

        The boil test was what I found to be the most interesting: Identical 2 qt pans filled with the same amount of water in each (approx. 5" deep). We put the pans on the highest BTU burner on each range and started timing. We took the water to a full, rolling boil, not just bubbles. The Viking boiled at 9 minutes, the Thermador at 10.5, the Dacor at 11, and the Wolf at 12 minutes. The BTU's were all within 1000 of each other. Then to really test the Viking we did it again on the Viking only, but on their 15,500 BTU burner. Full rolling boil at 10.5 minutes, a full 1.5 minutes quicker than the 18,000 BTU Wolf.

        I have different "favorite" manufacturers for different appliances, but I truly believe Viking has engineered their gas range tops far beyond the competition. Lots of information here - hope some of it helps.

        1. My first question would be why dual fuel??????

          A high end dual fuel oven only keeps narrows the temp range about 10 degrees on either side, not enough for 99.9999999% of the items you cook to show any difference. Opening the oven door creates more of a temp swing than the difference between gas and electric.

          IMO Duel fuel is a great marketing gimmick that separates you from your money and unless you are truly a self-cleaning oven fanatic (they have some drawbacks for longevity of the unit btw) I don’t see a real reason to get one, I have 4 ovens and use at least 1 if not 2 daily and I only clean them every 6 months but I work clean.

          As far as high BTU burners, the best on the market by far is BlueStar.

          Personally if I was going to remodel my kitchen today (I own a 48” Wolf) I would be looking into induction rather than gas. Induction will be 50-75% of sales in 5-10 years and you kitchen will be looking very outdated by then. (PS I didn’t believe induction could be anywhere near the hype until I used it a few times. I work part time as demonstration chef for a large appliance retailer so I get to play on all the toys.)

          My kitchen would most likely be an induction cooktop and a double electric wall ovens (Actually I would end up getting 4 but I entertain a whole lot).

          However back to your original question – this is how our service manager would rate the appliances you stated on reliability.

          #1 Wolf
          #2 AGA (Parts can be frightfully expensive, oven light receptacle $397 vs $21 for wolf)
          #3 Fratelli
          #4 Viking/Dacor (Tie)
          #5 Thermador

          Bertazzoni (Not enough data to draw a conclusion)

          Hope this helps and do yourself a favor and look into induction, I LOVE gas, but induction has changed my whole way I view electric.

          Good Luck

          4 Replies
          1. re: RetiredChef

            wow - thanks for the info. hadn't spent time looking at induction but it certainly looks interesting. what are generally considered the best induction cooktops? (looks like a much different list than the gas makers) miele? viking? electrolux? kenmore? thermador?diva de provence? just when i thought my head was spinning from range research i should probably look at induction...

            1. re: vchipp

              A few years ago, I bought a Kenmore Elite range, dual-fuel, with electric oven and gas top.
              The top has one ultra-high-output, one high, one medium, and one ultra-low burner.
              I wasn't in the market for a high-end stainless, like wolf or viking, and this stove has suited me just fine. I find I use the ultra high burner the most (for stir-fry and pasta water) and hardy ever use the ultra-low for sauces or chocolate, since I have good heavy pans.

              They don't make the model I own anymore, but this is similar.
              Take a look at Kenmore Elite. I have been very happy.

              http://www.kenmore.com/shc/s/p_10154_...

            2. re: RetiredChef

              The main difference between a gas oven and an electric oven is the amount of 'waste' heat that goes from the oven into your kitchen.

              A gas oven has to 'breathe', because it needs oxygen for combustion. If you look at any gas oven, you will see a good sized hole in the top of the oven that vents just overtop of the burners. Hot air is actively flowing through a gas oven to support the combustion process - therefore it pumps a lot of heat into your kitchen.

              An electric oven doesn't have to breathe to get hot. So, the oven box can be sealed better. This is a particular advantage in warmer climates.

              1. re: RetiredChef

                Retired...I agree about induction and really like the direction they are headed. However, two big issues that I am still having. (1) until they figure out how to replace the charbroil or griddle feature, induction tops will NOT replace gas. (2) it wasn't too long ago that electromagnetic fields were linked to various cancers...what technology does induction use? Electromagnetic!!

                I think that induction is a great cooking technique (although, technically not a new idea) but it will take way more than 4 years until you will see professional chefs using them in a commercial setting....until that day comes, gas cooktops will still be the way to go in the home...of course...IMO.

                Cheers and Happy Cooking!

              2. I have a 36" Dacor Epicure dual fuel range. We bought their matching hood and high backsplash with warming shelf. One of the things I like about it, and which no one else offered in 2000 when we bought it, is that all six burners will go down to a low simmer. I also love that the top is sealed so I don't have to worry with a drip pan under the burners. The look is a little softer than a real commercial range and is a little more inviting. That's pure personal preference, though.

                It also has an electric convection oven with a gas infrared broiler, and both perform spectacularly. The broiler is some insanely high BTU monster that actually scares me. Living in Charleston, SC, I'm glad it has the electric oven so I'm not heating up my house as much in the summer. The Dacor also cost substantially less than the others. Back in 2000 our range was $5,000. A comparable Five Star was over $6,000 and Viking was $8,000.

                In the last 11 years we have had only one service issue. When we turn on the center burner it won't trigger the sparker, so we just turn on another burner simultaneously and the center one will light. The only major annoyance I have is after a while I have to clean the sparkers and the caps and rings around the burners. I think this is common to all gas ranges without pilot lights, though.

                1. I have an early model kenmore dual fuel range. Bought before the concept was widely applied. I love it but it is near the end of its life and am now shopping for a replacement. The one complaint i have is lack of true simmer. Each of the four burners are different in btu output. The smallest one still won't reduce to a true simmer. I have one electric warming burner in the center that i. Use like a crockpot. Love that feature.

                  1. We're in the early design stages of a major home remodel. If I was going with a gas range, I'd be looking at Bluestar, the Platinum most likely if I had room for one. After much research, I'd want open burners with minimal electronics.
                    That said, I'm planning on a 36" Induction cooktop, with a steam combi oven and a 30" convection oven. Right now, most likely will be Miele. I have concerns about the Wolf porcelain chipping issues. The home is mid-century modern and the kitchen will have a sleek modern look, so I think Miele will fit right in. Would love Gaggenau, but it's way more expensive and I have concerns about local service.
                    Especially here where it's very warm most of the year, induction seems to make sense. No need for all that extra heat in the kitchen.
                    I plan on putting a 60k BTU power burner outside to deal with wok cooking, big crab boils, fried turkeys, etc.